Energy & Environment

Week ahead: EPA on the clock for climate, water rules

Coming off a week of events dedicated to fighting global warming, the administration is now hunkering down to finalize and promote policies that are the pillars of President Obama’s climate legacy.

The Environmental Protection Agency said it would be shifting message on its landmark climate rule, which requires the nation’s fleet of existing power plants to cut carbon pollution 30 percent by 2030 from 2005 levels.

{mosads}The EPA has touted the public health aspect, but now it will focus on the economic costs of inaction and how its proposal on power plants will help push innovation toward renewable sources. 

So, expect more math lessons from the EPA, as it makes the pitch that climate change should be factored into budget costs and that taking action is a possible economic boon.

During a sit-down with reporters on Friday at EPA headquarters, Administrator Gina McCarthy said the recent United Nations Climate Summit in New York City offered the administration a “great opportunity to see what the rest of the world thinks” about U.S. action on climate change. 

“[They] want to make sure that we are delivering our products on time, which we certainly intend to do,” she said.

Despite an extension of the comment period for the carbon pollution rule for power plants, McCarthy said the EPA is set on an end-date of June 2015 for the final rule. 

She will also make the rounds with a number of speeches focused on the agency’s Waters of the U.S. proposal, which seeks to clarify federal jurisdiction over streams and wetlands.

“I am going to be doing some speeches next week beginning at WEFTEC, one of [the] largest conferences that brings together folks that work in the water industry,” McCarthy told reporters.

“It’s important for us to continue to move forward to explain why we are doing the rule and what the rule actually does and what it is intended to do so that we can continue to solicit comment moving forward,” she added.

In the coming months, the administration will work to wrap up the public comment period for the carbon pollution rules for existing and new power plants, and its waters rule.

All three are crucial to Obama’s legacy. 

Speaking of his legacy, the president will meet with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to work out details on steps the two nations could take together to mitigate climate change and push clean energy sources.

White House officials said on Friday that climate and clean energy issues would be a focus of the talks between the two leaders, and to expect “deliverables.”

If Obama is successful in wooing developing countries to the table to sign an agreement on greenhouse gas reductions next year, then it will be a big win for the administration.

A number of policy centers will also hold conversations on climate change, energy security and Arctic operations.

On Monday, outgoing Deputy Energy Secretary Daniel Poneman will talk at the Woodrow Wilson Center. 

Later that day, the Woodrow Wilson Center will also host a discussion on climate change ideas that weren’t raised at the U.N. Climate Summit. U.N. officials will participate.

On Tuesday, the Center for Strategic and International Studies will hold a conference on the U.S. taking over the chairmanship of the Arctic Council.

Special Representative to the Arctic, Adm. Robert Papp Jr. will deliver the keynote. David Balton, the deputy assistant secretary of State for oceans and environment, will also participate. 

On Wednesday, the Energy Department is hosting a symposium on energy security to kick off Energy Action Month.

Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz will keynote the event, and White House adviser John Podesta will talk about the future of energy security on a panel.

Lastly, on Thursday, the U.S. Energy Association will hold its Energy Supply Forum. BP America Vice President Robert Stout will deliver remarks along with other industry representatives. 


Tags carbon pollution Climate change Environmental Protection Agency Gina McCarthy Narendra Modi
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